When you hear the word community what do you think of?
Your friends, your village, your school … ??
When you think of “The Green Movement” what do you think of?
Greenpeace, Environmental Activism, Saving the Planet… ??
Perhaps community is about relationship and the ‘green movement’ is about connection?
For me Green Politics is a peculiar thing – at the core of what is being said is that we need to preserve the Earth for us…
This is bothersome in some respects since the Geologist and Earth Scientist in me is aware of three fundamental truths ..
The Earth will not end in the sense that many suggest – it may change form and spacial existence over time
Everything on the Earth is part of a vast web of interdependent connections – some organisms on the web may seem to be more dominant than others
The Earth is probably more fecund, fertile without us being around – we are temporary ‘blips’ on a larger timescale
So no matter what we do, or how careless we are in our treatment of the Earth and its resources, when we are gone the processes of life – those which maintain the Earth within the Cosmos, will continue. The Earth will recover from our misuse in the long term.
So the choice is quiet simple. If we, as a species chose to live ‘out of relationship’ with the processes of the Earth we will soon cease to exist. If we want tto enjoy, feel and sense the beauty of the planet we live upon then we need to find a way of being in harmony with it.
This, perhaps, is something the singer-songwriter Don Mclean spoke of in is wonderful 70’s song Tapestry..
The Earth is our Community – we are ‘in relationship’ with everything on the Earth and,. to everything within the Cosmos. How we choose to manage that relationship is what will determine our survival or not and, to a great extent the Universe can be just as OK with us in it as it is with us ‘out of it’.
The challenge we face is not simply one of trying to undo the technologies we use and the systems we have created, but to use them with wisdom, understanding and love.
We have numerous New Age Folk complaining that ‘science’has brought us to the edge of extinction and yet those some Folk carry crystals that have been mined, use oils which have been commercially farmed and may subscribe to ‘folk remedies’ which are part of the propaganda of the same Big Pharma they protest about. OK, now perhaps that was a bit unfair, but not without an element of truth I add.
The issue is about what we, as humans, are willing to think about. It is far easier to find a single scapegoat for the ills of environmental decline than it is to really think about the degree to which we are all complicit. It is easier, perhaps, to stand aside and moan about the conflicts of interest within the world than it is to consider that those same conflicts and motivations can exist within each and everyone of us. Let those who have no ax to grind or prejudice to fuel speak out now!
The Gaia Hypothesis proposes that our planet functions as a single organism which maintains conditions necessary for its survival. It was proposed by James Lovelock in the mid-1960s and published in a book in 1979. It is an idea that holds much sway within certain groups and while Lovelock’s
hypothesis has not been substantiated, it makes sense in terms of the interaction of physical, chemical, geological, and biological processes on Earth. Whilst some may want to propose a ‘consciousness’ within the Earths processes I prefer to refrain from limiting them with anthropomorphic limitations.
In a sense nature is the ultimate arbiter – it is ‘good’, not in some Judeo-Christian sense of morality, but ‘good’ in the sense perhaps that is ‘sound’, ‘wonderful’, ‘precious’, ‘excellent’, ‘valuable;….
Nature is neither ‘good’ or ‘bad’ within the moralistic sense since it is beyond that – it simply ‘is’ all that there ‘is’.
Now we can pretty this up and romanticise about this as much as we want, but in every and all senses Nature, and by extension the Earth, gave rise to us. Now ‘parerntal’ metaphors can abound…. personified as Earth Mother or Mother Nature it is one of the oldest archetypes in existence.
Why does this idea have cross-cultural significance?
Because at our core we recognise there exists a relationship between us and ‘her’.
So whilst science talks of ‘ecosystems’ the mystic talks of ‘the web’ and whilst people abuse their relationship with ‘the mother’ they do so because they are ‘out of relationship’ with themselves. In the pain of separation from the ‘web’ the psychology of ‘need’ becomes expressed not as a sense of ‘belonging’ but as an attitude of ‘rebellion’.
So Community perhaps starts with yourself, then moves to your relationship and attitudes to others and thence to the social groups you aspire to. All of which are based upon the Earth – from it, within it, around it. Just as some struggle to find peace within themselves, so many find it difficult to find peace between each other. The end result of this imbalance is one of caring less about community and more about ruler-ship. The Earth and Nature can have no ruler and if we choose to fall out of relationship with it (them) they won’t care or put a stop to their processes…. It will be the children of the people who could not understand ‘community’ who will grieve for the loss.
So ends this set of reflections and meanderings …